Above The Fray: Port of Tacoma completes vital Lincoln Avenue overpass project

Port of Tacoma officials Monday celebrated the completion of the Lincoln Avenue grade separation project, a $54 million project that raised Lincoln Avenue over key railroad tracks in the Port area, removing the at-grade conflict between rail activities and heavy vehicular traffic.

According to Port of Tacoma officials, the Lincoln Avenue grade separation significantly improves rail and road efficiency; aids in the flow of goods through the Port’s South and North Intermodal Yards and APM Terminals; and enhances air quality by giving truck drivers direct access to APM Terminals instead of idling while trains pass. Rail plays an essential role in moving freight quickly and efficiently in and out of the Port, with trains averaging 8,000 feet in length. Lincoln Avenue is a major arterial, serving as the primary connector between Interstate 5 and the Port for a high number of trucks. Historically, rail switching operations and mainline trains cause vehicular delays of up to 30 minute every two hours.

On Sept. 18, 2009, Sen. Patty Murray joined Port of Tacoma commissioners and other state and local dignitaries for a “road-raising” celebration to kick off construction of the final phase of the Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation overpass. “Raising Lincoln Avenue over the tracks will help the Port of Tacoma run smoother, faster, and more efficiently,” Sen. Murray said. At that time, the Port had completed three surface streets and relocated utilities to support the overall project. The final piece, the overpass itself, remained unfunded until the Port received $15.4 million in March from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Scarsella Brothers Inc., of Kent, Wash., was awarded the $21.8 million contract to build the overpass.

Before the Lincoln Avenue grade separation opened to traffic on June 6, Port employees, contractors who worked on the project and local businesses impacted by the construction were invited to walk the roadway.

For more information, visit http://www.portoftacoma.com/lincoln-ave .

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Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation Project funding sources — http://www.portoftacoma.com/Page.aspx?cid=3542

Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation Project economic impact — http://www.portoftacoma.com/Page.aspx?cid=3541

Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation Project Flickr photo set — http://www.flickr.com/photos/portoftacoma/sets/72157622667752712/